Housing in China

China seems a good place to live, despite of having a communist government. But beware that internet censorship is high, numerous popular websites such as Youtube and Blogger are considered to have offensive content so are blocked by government. On my Blogspot websites I never had a single visitor from China, but I had from all surrounding countries, but at least… Webs.com is not blocked so I get chinese visitors on my website (this website was running on free hosting Webs.com until 2012).

What other type of info would you like to see in this page? Leave comments!

After 1990, when the communist governments in Europe felt down and the countries entered in economic decline, China entered in an economic boom, becoming one of the fastest growing economies, overtaking Japan in 2011 as GDP and is likely to overtake USA too during 2020s. Shanghai Metro was opened just in 1995 and after only 15 years, it reached over 400 km of lines in 2011 and overtook the 137-years old London Underground. Is planned to have over 800 km of lines by 2020. Will be the longest in the world, depending how much Beijing Metro will grow too.

Housing analysis

I have little knowledge about China housing compared with other countries. I spent much time studying China in Google Earth, but without english websites I cannot gain much information, also I see it quite uninteresting. I do not know when public housing began, but satellite photos shows that early public housing is already being demolished during 2000s.

Nowadays most of housing in China is privately built. Chinese cities are monotonous (like South Korea cities), having rows of linear buildings with identical apartments all over the city. From satellite photos I can see that most common block type is segmented block with 2 apartments per floor, with main rooms facing south, typical size 16 m long and 12 m wide, no significant increase over last 10-20 years. Most blocks are 6 floors, probably maximum height allowed without lifts. Most blocks are placed at 15 meters apart, probably minimum by law (quite dense compared with other countries).

After 2000 many modern housing complexes appeared, comprising high-rise blocks with more complex shapes, but the construction of traditional low-rise linear blocks continues. Most apartments have 2-3 bedrooms, some 4 bedrooms, and include a balcony for living room, after 2000s bay windows became common, there are 60-cm wide opening panels on each side and a fixed panel in the middle, exactly like in Hong Kong (I know that in Hong Kong a law from 1980s introduced plot ratios and exempted bay windows from gross floor area, but in China does anyone know what happened?).

According some sources, including statista.com, the housing reached a ratio 35 sqm per person in 2012, but this looks like a propaganda lie, this high ratio of sqm per capita is impossible since average apartment size is somewhere in 60-80 sqm, bedrooms small as 3×3 / 3×4 meters and multi-generation families are quite common in China, or maybe the statistics are made to include wall thickness, a sharepart of staircase and common areas, etc.

According shrinkthatfootprint.com average apartment size in China is 60 sqm but is not clear if is newly-built apartments or all apartments, probably all, because new apartments are bigger. It also shows 76 sqm in United Kingdom which accounts new houses only. According scmp.com is 646 sq ft.

There are plenty of floor plans, but websites are not in english, you should search in chinese 户型 or 公寓平面图 (Gōngyù píngmiàntú). Best if you can understand chinese (unlike me!)

Nice find: Housing in China case study: http://www.mcgill.ca/mchg/student/neighborhood/chapter2

Old blocks under demolition (unknown built year)
Old apartment blocks Old apartment blocks

Modern blocks (built 1990s-2000s)
Modern chinese apartments Dongguan apartments Jade Green Island, Dongguan

China feature also modern landed houses developments (villas)
Golden Apple villas, Shanghai

Craziness! A highway runs just 2 meters over apartment buildings, causing noise and dust to residents (Shuikousi bridge, Guiyang, bridge was built first in 1997, then about 10 apartment buildings were built under bridge in 1999)
Road above apartment buildings, Guiyang


Like other communist countries (or even worse than others), private car ownership in China was limited until 1980s and roads were full of bicycles. Mass car production stated in 1990s, exports started in 2000s with little success, due to the “brilliant” quality of chinese products!

Despite of low sales in foreign markets, the rising local market made China to be the new world leader in automobile production in 2009, overtaking Japan and United States (source: Wikipedia), producing 13 million cars (compared with 2 million cars in 2000). then 18 million in 2010 and 2011. See more in Automobile Production .XLS.

A lot of impressive highway interchanges were built in recent years, but… do they have enough parking spaces in apartment complexes?

Six-level stack interchange, Puxi, Shanghai


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    • Rafi on July 17, 2015 at 11:26 am
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